While many of us might not make a lot of phone calls anymore (at least, I know I prefer to mostly send text messages), businesses still do and that’s because speaking to a client over the phone is just easier and builds more trust than an email can.
If you’re a small business owner, gig-worker, or a freelancer then you might want to look into these services that provide free business phone numbers.
Here’s why it’s important to get a separate phone number for your business:
I know that as a small business owner you need to save where you can. Having a free business number for your side-gig not only spares you the cost of getting a landline or an additional phone plan but it also adds a sense of credibility and professionalism to your business.
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These days, a lot of people tend to just use their personal phone number as their business number, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, some of our personal lives tend to spill over that way.
For instance, if the client has a messenger like WhatsApp too (which is likely since it’s such a hugely popular messaging service), then they will see all of your profile pictures, statuses, and updates.
On top of that, keeping things organized on a phone that’s used for both your business ventures and personal life gets tricky after a while.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can get a free business phone number here in the US. I’ve listed some of them below so you can find one that fits your needs.
Do Freelancers and Gig-Workers Really Benefit From Having a Business Phone Number?
Depending on the work you do, you’ll have to pitch to clients, save important contacts, maintain a list of leads, and set up a schedule so you don’t forget anything.
Getting a free business phone number means you can do all of that without having to pay for an additional phone number or another phone.
Though some people do like having a separate phone for work, which is fine as well – it doesn’t have to be an expensive one and you can still use a free phone number on it instead of going for a full plan.
While having a business phone number won’t help you with your scheduling, it can help you keep your personal phone number out of the public eye. There are a number of benefits attached to that, but the two ones that instantly come to mind are:
– not getting bombarded by spam, and
– not having to deal with creeps who now have your phone number.
But probably one of the biggest positives to having an independent phone number for your business is that you don’t have to answer it after hours. Once you’re done for the day, you can just mute those calls and even set up an automatic answering system that says you’ll call them back the next day.
How do Free Business Phone Numbers Work?
Most free business numbers are either virtual or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) numbers. There are a few places that provide this type of service and they will either be able to provide you with a local number or a toll-free number, or both.
Make sure to check that distinction before you sign up. If your clients are spread out across the country then you should opt for the toll-free number instead of the local option.
There are also a couple of different ways this could work. You could do your inbound and outbound calls over a desktop phone. But you would need a headset with a microphone for that.
Otherwise, you can just have your business calls forwarded to your regular phone. This works just as well and is the better option if you tend to frequently be out of the office during work hours.
5 Free Business Phone Number Services
1. Google Voice
We use Google services for pretty much everything these days – from getting work done in Docs or Sheets, to using our Google Calendars for scheduling appointments. So, of course, there’s a Google Voice as well.
The Google Voice app is pretty easy to use and you should be fairly familiar with its setup if you already use any other Google services. The app lets you make free calls (and send free text messages) on your computer and Android or iOS phones.
It comes with some great features too, including the ability to filter spam calls – something all of us need these days – and transcribe voicemails so you can read them later.
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This free service is really great for anyone that travels around a lot, but the only caveat is that it supplies you with a local number. If you need a toll-free number to connect with clients in other states then you’ll need to go for a different option. Luckily there are plenty of others!
This is a fairly well-known VoIP service that is easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices.
This service isn’t technically free as they have a few pricing plans based on the number of minutes you can call every month. However, their base plan (currently $13/month) does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and so I felt they warranted a mention here because Phone.com is pretty popular.
The service offers a long list of standard and premium features, that I’m not going to go through here. But a few noteworthy mentions include professional voice recording, voicemail to email, Caller ID (for incoming and outgoing calls), and hold music.
Phone.com provides both local and toll-free numbers which means you’re free to choose the option that best suits you.
This virtual phone service offers both local and toll-free business phone numbers to people in the US and Canada. It comes with a 30-day free trial, after which you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription, unfortunately.
There are several perks to eVoice, though, and they have a few different subscription tiers to choose from so you can pick a cheap tier if you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
There are some terrific bells and whistles, however, if you want them. You’ll get to choose your own number from a list, have a professionally recorded greeting, and get an auto attendant who answers your calls and can route calls to your smartphone or another device (or both if one is for customer service and the other is for billing, for instance).
CallCentric is a great option if you want a free business number for inbound calls because it’s free to receive any number of calls on the service. But if you want to make calls yourself, then you’ll have to pay.
That said, any calls you make to other CallCentric or VOIP numbers are also free. And if you do need to make calls to non-VOIP numbers then their plans are still a fantastic option. You get 120 minutes a month for just $2 on the basic plan.
This is another service that offers a free 30-day trial, after which you’ll have to pay $10 per month (for the basic plan). While this isn’t ideal considering you actually want a free service, the perks help make up for it, at least.
With FreedomVoice you also get a virtual auto assistant, can forward calls to any phone, have unlimited voicemail, and the ability to send and receive faxes online.
If you want, you can also opt to get a vanity business phone number instead, for a $30 activation fee (luckily it’s once-off). This is a tempting option for anyone who would like a unique and memorable number.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind though, that calls through any of these services are made over the internet and so you will need a connection to be able to make and receive calls.
Depending on how strong your connection is, you might also experience dropped calls or bad “reception” at times.
Also, remember that any calls you make over a network could be intercepted. Although, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure your business stays safe from online threats (and not just in terms of making a phone call) so be sure to check them out.